Sep 29, 2015

Peppered Cottons give away and my William Morris inspired art

Welcome to the last stop on the month-long Jaftex 85th Anniversary blog hop. I'm happy to be a part of this celebration. 85 years is certainly something to celebrate!

Teresa Duryea Wong. "Morris & Me" Photographed in Bryant Park, New York City. 2015
Jaftex is the parent company to StudioE, Henry Glass and Blank Quilting. When I was asked to participate, I was given a choice of fabrics from those companies to choose from and I quickly chose the Peppered Cottons by StudioE! The rules were pretty open - make whatever you want. Use these gorgeous fabrics.

I created a small art quilt, about 17 x 22 inches, inspired by one of my favorite William Morris pieces of art. I love William Morris and I have studied his art and life extensively. He is not the soft, interior decorator most people assume. He had very strong political and social views of life and helped transform our ideas of the value of both art and craft. These William Morris leaves have been in my head for quite some time! 


I added hand embroidery along both sides of the side borders... which made me think of William Morris' daughter, May Morris, who was an embroidery designer and avid teacher.

Working with these Peppered Cottons is a joy. They shimmer and have such a beautiful hand.

Now - you have the chance to win TWO packs of Pepper Cottons!



Here's how to win.

First, you can enter the Jaftex 85th Anniversary for the BIG prizes - A Janome Skyline S5 sewing machine; or 15 Fat quarter bundles and a box of Aurifil thread [48 spools]; or 6 Fat quarter bundles and a special edition tin of goodies from Schmetz Needles.
Enter here - 85th Anniversary Giveaway
85th Anniversary Blog Hop Giveaway 


 --- Hurry. The big giveaway ends soon.

OR

Second... Leave one comment here on my blog to be entered into a drawing to win two packs of Peppered Cottons.

In the comment, leave me feedback or comments about my blog in general, or this art quilt.

If you follow me on any platform/social media, you are welcome to leave a second comment and tell me where/how you follow me for a bigger chance to win the Peppered Cottons.

Winner's address must be in U.S. So if you are outside U.S. and willing to pay shipping, please say so in your comment.

Drawing will be help on October 22, 2015!

Thank you for taking time to visit my blog!

If you want to look back at the other projects, here is the list of participants.

Here's the official lineup:
September 1 - Kim Diehl guest posting @ American Patchwork & Quilting
September 2 - Pepper @ Pepper at the Quilt Studio
September 3 - Anjeanette @ Anjeanette Klinder 
September 4 - Leanne @ The Whole Country Caboodle   
September 5 - Mark @ Mark Lipinski's Blog
September 6 - Heather @ Heather Kojan Quilts  
September 7 - Heather @ Trends and Traditions  
September 7 - Martha @ Wagons West Designs  
September 8 - Linda @ Linda Lum DeBono 
September 9 - Heidi @ Red Letter Quilts 
September 10 - Jill @ Jillily Studios  
September 10 - Dana @ My Lazy Daisy  
September 11 - Penny @ Sew Simple Designs  
September 12 - Ida @ Cowtown Quilts 
September 13 - Liz and Beth @ Lizzie B Cre8ive  
September 14 - Melissa @ Sew Bitter Sweet Designs
September 15 - Yvonne @ Quilting Jetgirl    
September 16 - Amy @ Kati Cupcake 
September 16 - Barbara @ QuiltSoup2 
September 17 - Erica @ Kitchen Table Quilting 
September 18 - Leona @ Leona's Quilting Adventure 
September 19 - Margot @ The Pattern Basket  
September 20 - Sylvia @ Flying Parrot Quilts   
September 21 - Lorna @ Sew Fresh Quilts  
September 22 - Kim @ Aurifil Threads  
September 23 - Rebekah @ Don't Call Me Becky   
September 24 - Julie @ The Crafty Quilter 
September 25 - Mary Ellen @ Little Quilts  
September 25 - Mary Jane @ Holly Hill Designs 
September 26 - Daisy @ Ants to Sugar
September 27 - Melissa @ Happy Quilting
September 28 - Janet @ One S1ster
September 29 - Jenny @ Martingale& Co

Sep 25, 2015

Tokyo's Autumn Quilt Market, smaller version of Festival

Last weekend, I found myself unexpectedly back at the Tokyo Dome.

The organizers of the giant Tokyo Great International Quilt Festival have started hosting a smaller, three-day event known as the Autumn Quilt Festival. 

I'd heard about this event before I left the U.S., but wasn't planning to attend because I thought it was more of a marketing event for B2B. Not so! I was given some tickets and decided to change up my schedule to make a brief stop. Glad I did! 

The Autumn Market is mostly shopping. Its not big enough to be held on the baseball dome floor like the January event. Its held at a convention hall that is connected to the Tokyo Dome. 

The festival has several aisles of vendors and one small display of quilts near the entrance. There is no juried competition and there weren't any museum-quality exhibitions. Rather, the finished quilts on display were all geared toward the Christmas holiday and general home decorating.





The vendors were selling lots of traditional fabric, along with clothing, buttons, jewelry, patterns... all the usual.






Check this out - these are natrual acorn tops (real ones!) with stuffed, silk kimono pieces sewn on to make these colorful, decorative stalks. Love these! 

There's even a husband waiting area! The one in the back is my patient husband! He's come half-way 'round the world to sit while I shop for fabric. He's the best!

If you're in Tokyo next September, you might want to stop by and check out the Autumn Quilt Market. 

Its always fun to shop for quilt stuff, but the only problem for me is the weight limit of my suitcase. I miss the days when we could just check a bunch of bags on the plane and not worry about how much they weighed... and there were no fees. Now, it costs a fortune. Oh well. These are good problems to have I guess.






Sep 22, 2015

a vist with Yoko Saito at Quilt Party, Tokyo

My current visit in Japan is a celebration of the past 2+ years of work. One of the biggest rewards of writing this book is visiting with the arists who are featured and putting a copy of the book into their hands. This week I visited with Yoko Saito and did just that - placed an autographed copy of my new book in her hands.

She is always such a gracious host and even though we speak two different languages, we share the love of quilting and so its easy to communicate.

Quilt Party is located in Ickikawa, near Tokyo.
In addition to presenting Yoko Saito with an autographed copy of my book, I am carrying around one special copy of my book and asking everyone who is featured and who supported me to sign my book. 


And here's another thing I did. I carried with me a small, hand-quilted quilt made by my friend Emily at the Caffeinated Quilter using a Yoko Saito pattern and many Japanese taupe fabrics. Emily recently finished this combination hexie and rail fence pattern and she has been kind enough to loan her quilt to me for the next 18 months for my quilt guild book tour! 

So when I was packing for Japan, knowing I was planning to visit Yoko Saito, I packed her quilt in my suitcase and carried it with me to Quilt Party. This was a surprise for Emily... and a surprise to Yoko as well.


And here's an interesting cultural note. For me to bring a quilt of mine (or a quilt of a fellow American who would be at a similar "quilting" level to me) to present to Yoko Saito in person, is either foolish or brave, when you think about this from the Japanese perspective. You see, the Japanese quilt world works a lot like the rest of Japan. It is highly structured and there is a hiearchy that should be respected. Yoko Saito is a Master quilter. She teaches hundreds of highly accomplished students, and her students teach more students, and so on. She is a judge and curator. She is like the CEO level and me showing her this quilt is a bit like a mid-level employee who pops into the CEO's office to show off his latest project and he/she has skipped about six layers of management approval! 

That said, I spent 20-plus years in corporate world and I worked very closely with lots of CEOs and I saw this happen time and time again - and most of the CEOs enjoyed interacting with average employees and loved hearing their ideas, even if they weren't approved or vetted by mangers.  You know the old saying, its lonely at the top? Well its true. While the quilt I brought to show Yoko was not a Master-level, flawless work of art, nonetheless, when she saw this quilt it brought a smile to her face. She enjoyed searching for the fabrics from her lines and she laughed about this small quilt having been carried from America all the way to her shop.... purely so she could see it.

So, whether you see this as foolish or brave, for this one moment, we both had fun looking at Emily's quilt and sharing our love of quilts. And what's better than that?

Follow me on Instagram #emilysyokosaitoquilt  #japanesecontemporaryquilts  --- I plan to take some creative photos in iconic places of Emily's quilt AND my book as I travel to speak to quilt guilds this year and next.

So, this visit to Quilt Party was the first of many stops on this trip to put "books in hands" so to speak. It was a fun one. More to come!


Sep 20, 2015

a gift of kogin - geometric Japanese embroidery


This beautiful bag was made by Keiko Goke and given to me as a gift. The front panel is an antique textile covered in kogin embroidery... and it is just lovely.

Kogin, or kogin-zashi, is a type of embroidery invented in the far northern part of Japan several hundred years ago. Its a variation of sashiko and was originally used as a way to reinforce clothing, particularly linen, during the Edo period when common people were forbidden to wear cotton. 

 
Kogin embroidery is made using tiny, horizontal stitches, close to each other, that align with the weave of the fabric. Traditional kogin patterns are very geometric and are made with white thread on indigo fabrics.




I love that this antique textile has been made into something modern and useful. And I especially love that it is made by such a talented artist as Keiko Goke. I'm taking home a little bit of her talent and a little bit of Japan's long history with textiles.



A treasure for sure! Thank you Keiko!




Sep 13, 2015

Japanese quilts in Nebraska

When in Nebraska, go to Lincoln!

University of Nebraska, in fact, --- home of the International Quilt Study Center and Museum. I can't imagine anything I'd rather do than spend the day in this place looking at quilts! This is my second research trip to the IQSCM to study Japanese quilts in their collection.

Posing for pics with my new book. Kim Taylor, Collections Manager (left) and Carolyn Ducey, (right) Curator of Collections, International Quilt Study Center & Museum.
Its always a treat to work with IQSCM's great staff before you arrive... and then, finally to see the quilts up close ... the real thing. Sometimes, seeing the real thing after studying a photo, or reading about a quilt in a book, can be a total surprise. The size, the depth, the colors - these elements just don't translate very well in mere images. Up close, they offer endless curiosity.

I was intently focused on studying two specific quilts - both by Japanese artist Shizuko Kuroha.

She is a longtime quilter who has created an entire world around her beloved indigos and vintage and antique cotton. Her work has inspired many quilters around the globe.


During this visit, I was also treated to an unexpected bonus and viewed the quilts of Eiko Okano. Her brightly colored, contemporary motifs are whimsical, highly embellished and altogether original.

Her multi-cultural vibe is seen over and over in the unusual mix of modern fabrics with buttons, buttons and more buttons that add fun and depth.




And finally, as we exit through the gift shop, I stand in front of the book selection and my mind wanders...

Next time I return, will my book be among those featured on the shelves of this fabulous quilt resource? One can only hope! For now, I'm still outside! :)

Sep 9, 2015

Oh Omaha, what a night we had

Oh Omaha. What a night we had!


To the Omaha Quilters' Guild - you are just the best. Thank you for inviting me to be your guest speaker to talk about the history of Japanese quilting. You are enthusiastic and energetic... and such a talented and kind group of quilters.

No wonder you have so many members!

Luckily I don't get nervous speaking to large crowds.. because this is a BIG room. And it did not take long for these chairs to fill.

Gerry Cordes - the program chair for Omaha - is a fantastic coordinator. It was such a pleasure to work with her. Many people may not realize, but she and I emailed and spoke several times over the past 10 months to set this up and finalize all the details. And the program chairs have to do this every month for every speaker and workshop! So hats off to you Gerry and all the volunteer program coordinators for quilt guilds everywhere.



I even had a visit from Omaha resident Jane Martin, a longtime family friend who grew up with my mom. What a treat!

And then... this lovely surprise was waiting for me in my hotel room. How sweet! Indeed... what a night it was.



Sep 1, 2015

Jaftex 85th Anniversary

Super exciting news! I've been asked to be a part of the Jaftex 85th Anniversary blog hop. I've created an art quilt as part of this event. Each blogger will be sharing their work throughout the month. Mine will debut on the 30th! Below are all the bloggers and sponsors who are participating. You'll want to scroll to the bottom to see the awesome give aways - including a Janome sewing machine. Follow along - there will be prizes every day!


Here's the official lineup:
September 1 - Kim Diehl guest posting @ American Patchwork & Quilting
September 2 - Pepper @ Pepper at the Quilt Studio
September 3 - Anjeanette @ Anjeanette Klinder 
September 4 - Leanne @ The Whole Country Caboodle   
September 5 - Mark @ Mark Lipinski's Blog
September 6 - Heather @ Heather Kojan Quilts  
September 7 - Heather @ Trends and Traditions  
September 7 - Martha @ Wagons West Designs  
September 8 - Linda @ Linda Lum DeBono 
September 9 - Heidi @ Red Letter Quilts 
September 10 - Jill @ Jillily Studios  
September 10 - Dana @ My Lazy Daisy  
September 11 - Penny @ Sew Simple Designs  
September 12 - Ida @ Cowtown Quilts 
September 13 - Liz and Beth @ Lizzie B Cre8ive  
September 14 - Melissa @ Sew Bitter Sweet Designs
September 15 - Yvonne @ Quilting Jetgirl    
September 16 - Amy @ Kati Cupcake 
September 16 - Barbara @ QuiltSoup2 
September 17 - Erica @ Kitchen Table Quilting 
September 18 - Leona @ Leona's Quilting Adventure 
September 19 - Margot @ The Pattern Basket  
September 20 - Sylvia @ Flying Parrot Quilts   
September 21 - Lorna @ Sew Fresh Quilts  
September 22 - Kim @ Aurifil Threads  
September 23 - Rebekah @ Don't Call Me Becky   
September 24 - Julie @ The Crafty Quilter 
September 25 - Mary Ellen @ Little Quilts  
September 25 - Mary Jane @ Holly Hill Designs 
September 26 - Daisy @ Ants to Sugar
September 27 - Melissa @ Happy Quilting
September 28 - Janet @ One S1ster
September 29 - Jenny @ Martingale& Co.
September 30 - Teresa @ Third Floor Quilts

There are GREAT prizes, for both you and, your local quilt shop!
1st Prize:
Blog Readers:  A Janome Skyline S5 sewing machine
Your favorite quilt shop:  30 bolts of fabric

2nd Prize:
Blog Readers:  15 Fat quarter bundles and a box of Aurifil thread [48 spools] 
Your favorite quilt shop:  15 bolts of fabric

3rd Prize:
Blog Readers:  6 Fat quarter bundles and a special edition tin of goodies from Schmetz Needles  
Your favorite quilt shop:  6 bolts of fabric


85th Anniversary Giveaway
85th Anniversary Blog Hop Giveaway

 
Special Thanks to the sponsors
Aurifil Threads - www.aurifil.com
Schmetz Needles - www.schmetzneedles.com

Jaftex is celebrating their 85th year in business. Jaftex Corp. was founded in the 1930’s when Jacob A. Fortunoff started selling fabric on the streets of New York.  At that time, the mainstay of the business was women’s sleepwear and lingerie.  In the 80’s, Jacob’s grandson, Robert, dramatically changed the business of the company.  The business focus was transferred to the over the counter quilt industry when Robert purchased companies like A.E. Nathan, Henry Glass, Stylemaker, Chanteclaire, Fabric Editions/Studioe and more recently The Blank Quilting Corp.  Robert is now joined by his two sons, Scott and Greg.  Scott currently is the President of Studioe Fabrics, The Blank Quilting Corp. & A.E. Nathan Co., Inc.  Greg just joined the business in late 2014 and has successfully spearheaded the company’s foray into precut fabrics among other contributions.

Japanese Yukata cotton - perfect for quilters


Japanese Yukata cotton is perfect for quilting. Here's why.

Japan began making cotton textiles at the end of the 19th Century. And ever since then, the Yukata (or summer kimono) has been growing in popularity. Breathable cotton kimonos were a welcome relief from silk during the warm summer months. Historically, the Yukata was also a type of robe worn to the bath houses and hot springs. 

For hundreds of years, all kimono fabric (at first only silk, and then later cotton) has been sold in very long rolls of fabric that are standardized at roughly 14 inches wide.

However, there are some textile producers who are currently producing kimono fabric in 16 or 17 inch widths due to customer demand for larger sizes. The uniform panels are perfect for constructing a kimono --- which is essentially made from 4 panels in the front and 4 panels in the back. And interestingly, this same standardization makes Yukata perfect for forming uniform quilt blocks. Or you can take inspiration from the vibrant colors and mix and match for a completely unexpected look.
Patricia Belyea. Floating World. 40 x 40 inches. Front view. Courtesy of Okan Arts blog.
In recent years, the Yukata has become a fashion icon and many men and women wear colorful Yukata to summer festivals, and sometimes just when they are out and about, especially in Kyoto. Trendy fashion designers and artisan studios are creating stunning Yukata designs today using a combination of time honored dyeing techniques, or even modern digital printing. 




Rolls of Yukata cotton. Photo Courtesy of Okan Arts.
Visit their online site  for more vintage hand-dyed Japanese Yukata cotton!

The hey-day of traditional hand-dyed Yukata cotton is the period following the rapid industrial growth of Japan in the post WW II years. And during the 1970s, 80s and 90s, there was a plethora of beautiful cotton Yukata fabric that was produced, but never sold.


That's where entrepreneurs like Patricia Belyea come in! She makes frequent trips to Japan and scours her special sources to find this unique vintage cotton and she imports these virtually untouched bolts to the United States to sell in her Seattle shop and online.

Her shop is called Okan Arts and she has curated a fantastic selection of this vintage cloth.

Okan Arts has recently commissioned me to sell this cool fabric as I go around the country for my book tour. As I talk to quilt guilds about the history of Japanese quilts, I find that quilters are very interested in these fabrics that can't be found in local retail quilt shops.

Members of the Quilt Guild of Greater Houston, August 2015, shopping for Yukata cotton.


Look at all these gorgeous one-yard cuts of Yukata cotton. So many ideas.... Here's a quilt top I just finished. I used two (one-yard cuts) of this vintage textile. I mixed it with a set of Oakshott shimmering cotton solids. All the piecing was improvisational (no rulers). 


I plan to machine quilt this and I can't wait to see it finished.

The other benefit to these gorgeous panels is they make a perfect backing... just add a strip of something whimsical and a couple of uncut panels of Yukata and you have a striking, completely original backing for your quilt.
Patricia Belyea. Floating World. 40 x 40 inches. Back view. Courtesy of Okan Arts blog.
Patricia at Okan Arts teaches this curved piecing technique and improv style in her classes. More info here. Isn't this stunning?

I hope you enjoyed this post about this interesting Japanese textile.

In a few weeks, I will be returning to Japan and I'll be posting about the wonderful textiles and artists I encounter. Can't wait to share more!